Metal band Slipknot have always had a flair for the visual. Now co-founder/percussionist M. Shawn Crahan, also known as Clown, and frontman Corey Taylor are taking it to the next level: The pair are heading to Sundance next week to unveil a film production company, Living Breathing Films. They tell Rolling Stone they plan on making movies befitting Slipknot’s music and aesthetic.
“Our movies are going to be psychological. They’re going to affect you. When The Exorcist came out people got up and left after 15 minutes and that turns us on,” Crahan says. “If I haven’t got someone to leave in five minutes for at least one of my films then I’m not doing my job.”
They’re longtime film fans; when the band got its “first bit of scratch,” Crahan says, Taylor bought $10,000 worth of DVDs. But, while they reference The Exorcist and Taylor calls director John Carpenter’s Halloween one of his favorite movies of all time, they are fans of a variety of movies.
“I just watched Good Will Hunting a week ago and I actually cried three times in the movie,” Crahan says. “That’s what Robin Williams can do to me – he can make me laugh as a comedian, but as an actor I completely believe him.”
They will bring that eclecticism to Living Breathing Films with a very hands on approach – including, Crahan says, scoring the films. Eventually, Crahan hopes to direct, while Taylor would write and star in their films. For the moment, though, they’re taking it slow. “Right now we’ve got a story and we’re getting together a working script,” says Taylor. “We’re looking to basically break ground on it this year. We’re obviously going to make sure that it doesn’t conflict with the future Slipknot touring stuff. But it’s important for us to learn first before we just kind of jump in.”
Going to Sundance, one of the biggest film festivals in the world, provides a good litmus test for their entry way into movies. “This is basically our handshake to the rest of the industry,” Taylor says. “It’s us saying, ‘We’re here and the same approach we take to music, we’re going to take to film. We excelled at one and we’ll excel at the other, and we’re going to do it our way.’ So Sundance is exciting for me because you just don’t know how these people will take us.”
Crahan will be giving them a taste of Slipknot. “We can’t go to Sundance without showing something that we did. So we just made a little film on Sunday and we basically got burlap bags, put them on our heads and then got zip tied and I forced us to walk through thorns,” he says. “There was no acting cause when Corey screamed, ‘Fuck,’ he meant fuck because he was getting a thorn slicing across his chest. And that’s what we are; we live our art, we breathe it. “
They’ve already put together a short wish list of people they’d like to work with, from Carpenter to Quentin Tarantino, but one is a particularly exciting prospect for music fans. “Obviously I’d love to do something with Rob [Zombie],” Taylor says. “I think that’d be sick for the three of us, being from such a musical background, to put something together that’s just fucking crazy and awesome to watch, but at the same time is a little disturbing.”